Fancy a burger?
The answer to this question is more and more likely to be ‘no’ these days as thousands more young people are deciding to adopt a vegan diet.
In fact, according to a survey last year by the British Vegan Society, at least 542,000 people in Britain are now following a vegan diet and never consume any animal products including meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs and honey.
Ten years ago, the same organisation estimated just 150,000 people aged 15 or over were vegan, so there’s been a huge change in just a decade. The Vegan Society says that due to the increase, veganism is now “one of Britain’s fastest growing lifestyle movements”.
Let’s face it: there was a time when a lot of people viewed vegans as weird, left wing, hippies. There were countless jokes and jibes ready to be thrown at anyone who declared their veganism: ‘But where do you get your protein from?’ ‘Can you eat wafer thin ham?’ ‘Does that mean you just eat rabbit food?’
Or simply that a person who has adopted veganism just talks about it every five minutes. ‘WE KNOW YOU’RE VEGAN, STOP TELLING US ALL THE TIME!’
For vegans, it can be awkward at parties or when you go to a friend’s for dinner. ‘NO I CAN’T EAT THAT, SORRY!’
But veganism now going mainstream. Attitudes are changing. It’s cool to shun meat, seafood and dairy products and opt for a plant-based diet.
Celebrities are helping veganism get that little bit cooler. Step up Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus and Ellen DeGeneres. But if you think veganism is all about losing weight and fitting into red-carpet style little black dresses (and not the lifestyle choice for a buff gym body) then verified vegans Brad Pitt, Mike Tyson and Liam Hemsworth might have something to say about it. And don’t mess with them!
Vegan Life magazine publishing director Keith Coomber recently said: “Veganism is no longer an extreme lifestyle, it’s easy and accessible – you can walk into any supermarket and be greeted by a huge range of dairy-free milks and many more other vegan-friendly products. As consumers become more savvy about the reality of the farming industry, and the health implications of meat and dairy products, this boom will only continue.”
This month is Veganuary. Launched in the UK in January 2014, Veganuary (pronounced vee-gan-uary) is a global charity that encourages people to try vegan for January. They say: “Veganism is one of the most effective choices a person can make to reduce the suffering of animals, help the planet and improve personal health.” They have loads of information about trying veganism, including a ‘veganism starter kit’.
The Huffington Post recently published an article focusing on why more and more Muslims are becoming vegans. One Muslim man, Ezra E Ereckson, summed up his reasons why: “Quran and hadith both make it clear that creation is to be respected, protected and preserved. The current state of the vast majority of meat and dairy production worldwide is clearly contrary to these principles.”
Whatever your thoughts on the issue – and whether you could give veganism a go – it’s a lifestyle choice that’s being followed by increasing amounts of young people. And some vegan recipes on the Veganuary website really do look pretty tasty! Egg and dairy-free chocolate brownies, anyone?